High on Sierra: Apple’s WWDC 2017

This year’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) brings us, as usual, a new version of macOS. Despite various suggestions for what to christen this forthcoming update, Apple tricked everyone and chose a most unexpected name: macOS High Sierra. The similarity to the current macOS Sierra hints at the minor improvements most users will see. However, there are many bigger changes under the hood.

With High Sierra, Apple claims its Safari web browser is faster than all competitors, and presented various benchmarks as evidence. This bold statement was followed by the introduction of Intelligent Tracking Prevention — a feature that means Safari now has content blocking built-in, automatically halting those annoying auto-play ads with sound in their tracks. Safari will also be more privacy conscious, blocking attempts to access cookies on your Mac that are deemed to be an invasion of privacy.

The Photos app also received a few improvements. With better facial recognition and a persistent sidebar, it’s easier to search for objects and scenes, or filter your library more intelligently. If you don’t have Adobe Photoshop installed or don’t want to spend your time poking around inside complicated editing software, High Sierra brings simple but helpful photo-editing tools to Photos, which sync across all your devices. Live Photos can be edited with special effects, while the Memories section of the app is a more intelligent and thoughtful curator of your memoirs.

Photos app WWDC 2017

Apple has also tweaked Mail.app, bringing full-screen, split-window support and better organization with improved Spotlight search that will serve up the most relevant results first.

The macOS update also encouraged Apple to move to the H.625 video standard, with support for improved 4K playback and efficient decoding of ultra-high-resolution video content. Those improvements are coupled with the launch of a new graphics API for developers: Metal 2, which is more efficient than its predecessor (up to 10x in many cases), with support for VR content.

Finally, the Apple File System makes it’s debut with High Sierra. APFS is a next-generation file system for Apple products based upon the iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS software platforms, which now covers devices from the diminutive Apple Watch all the way up to Mac Pro. It’s optimized for Flash/SSD storage and features strong encryption, copy-on-write metadata, space sharing, cloning for files and directories, snapshots, fast directory sizing, atomic safe-save primitives, and improved file system fundamentals.

Apple claims APFS vastly accelerates the speed of actions like duplicating large files, while boasting improved performance, security, and reliability. All users who upgrade should see noticeable gains in day-to-day use.

To celebrate this news, we’re offering big savings for our powerful application that covers all aspects of the computer’s life cycle: Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac is now available with a 20% off discount! HDM for Mac includes drive partitioning, file system optimization and repair functions, data backup capabilities, irreversible data wiping, and much more.

macOS High Sierra is available as a public beta for early adopters in June from beta.apple.com, and is currently free to download for all Mac developers at developer.apple.com. The new macOS 10.13 will arrive as a full release for all users with compatible Macs and MacBooks this autumn.

Important Tips on Protecting Your System and Data Against WannaCry and Ransomware Attacks

Past few days we all have been following the breaking news on the fast-spreading WannaCry ransomware affecting globally hundreds of thousands PC systems around the world, and are wondering what is this virus and whether your computer system and data might be at risk. WannaCry, like any ransomware is a computer virus that usually spreads via spam emails and malicious download links. The virus is designed to lock up computer files and the ultimate goal is to blackmail the affected user until the victim pays the ransom demand, usually $300-$500 in Bitcoins.

Wana_Decrypt0r_screenshot
Screenshot of the ransom note left on an infected system

WannaCry is especially malicious because it spreads itself and doesn’t even require the user to click any link or open a file. Now most of us wonder how to make your system and data secure.

Planning your data protection and recovery strategy is essential to any PC user. This awareness guide will help you be cautious and save your valuable data on PC from WannaCry or any other potential ransomware threat. In addition to installing anti-virus software like Kaspersky or similar solutions, every PC user should implement stringent backup controls with snapshots to increase safety from attacks and prevent possible data loss. Since this widely spread global cyber-attack is just one of many to hit users, reliable system and data backup is always the key to protect against such malware threats.

Countries_affected_in_WannaCry_ransomware_attack
Map of the countries initially affected by the virus

The following advisory on WannaCry ransomware will help prevent data loss and in case of a disaster recover it fast:

1. Backup your computer with the reliable backup solution.
2. Update your Windows OS with Microsoft’s latest fix.
3. B careful of opening any unknown emails, websites and apps.
4. Use anti-virus protection software in conjunction with a firewall.

To help users protect their systems and valuable data, this week Paragon Software Group started offering all new and existing customers of Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Suite and Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Professional – the all-inclusive data management tools with full Windows 10 Creators Update support, Br16-protect-restoreParagon Backup & Recovery 16 software absolutely free of charge. This essential tool can be used alongside Paragon Hard Disk Manager for stronger backup functionality, or separately on other devices.

Stay safe and always backup your system.

Basic Ransomware Prevention: How Data Backups Can Save Your System From Hackers

Over the past few years, millions of PCs from around the world have been locked or had their files encrypted as a result of devious malware.
According to Kaspersky Security Bulletin, in 2015 there were 1,966,324 registered notifications for attempted malware infections aiming to steal money via online access to bank accounts. Various ransomware programs were detected on 753,684 computers of unique users; more than 179,000 computers were targeted by encryption ransomware.

In April 2016, CNN Money reported new estimates from the FBI that revealed the costs from so-called ransomware have reached an all-time high. Cyber-criminals collected $209 million in the first three months of 2016 by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers.

Of course, those big numbers don’t usually affect us, regular users, but we still have our fair share of parasitic programs to be worried about.

One of the newest malwares looks like a pop-up message in Safari that signs: “Your Apple Computer has been blocked. Mac iOS alert! System might be infected due to unexpected error! Suspicious Activity Detected. Your Browser might be hijacked or hacked.” It gives you an 800 number to call and the person on the other end of the line offers you to share your screen and tries to sell you $200-cost security software.

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

That kind of ‘warning’ message is a common form of malware itself. The problem is that the pop-up appears every time you try to reopen Safari, and it’s impossible to dismiss the pop-up and then access Safari settings before the pop-up reappears. So how do you access Safari and make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Oddly, there’s no way to reset Safari’s settings from outside of the app. First, try the most standard ways to work around a malicious webpage in your browser.

– Launch Safari with the “shift” key held down. This should prevent Safari from opening the pages from the last session.

– Load Safari, then Control-click on its icon in the Dock and choose Force Quit. Try this a couple of times and Safari may get the message that there’s something wrong on startup and start without loading anything.

– Update to El Capitan or Sierra if you haven’t already. Apple added a lot more malware protection in the new OSes, including fixes that stop many browser-based hijack methods.

– Disconnect the computer from the Internet. If there’s no malware hosted locally, the pop-up can only be generated by loading a remote webpage that’s set as the home page. Open your Safari preferences and check, if your home page had been set to an unknown domain. Delete that URL from your Safari settings and turn the Wi-Fi connection back on.

However, the most efficient way to protect yourself is to back up your system to the state before malware hit your machine.

For example, the most recent hacker attack on the San Francisco transit system, in which hackers tried to extort about $73,000 from the transit service in exchange for giving back control of their computer system, ended up relatively well. That’s because Muni, which runs San Francisco’s bus, light rail and trolley car systems, had a backup of its system and, as a consequence, no customer data was stolen.

One of the most popular backup tools is Time Machine – the built-in utility for Mac, introduced with OS X Leopard. Time Machine works at the file level, which is inefficient when dealing with an active operating system and running applications. Files should be unlocked or closed for proper backup, which is not an option with most system files and those used by currently running apps.

Time Machine waits until user applications are closed and locked files become available to process, ignoring system files completely. That’s why OS X has a two-step restore procedure: The user first reinstalls the operating system before retrieving application and user files from the backup image.

There’s a better backup approach based on system snapshots, which considerably reduces backup and recovery times. Snapshot is like taking a photo of your file system, excluding changes made after that point. They will still be present on your hard drives and will be included with the future backups, but not the current one. That’s exactly why this is the only backup method that can be used to protect an active operating system. Additionally, although Time Machine waits until running applications are closed and locked files become available, the backup operation obviously takes more time than if it’s done with a snapshot-based utility.

To illustrate the difference, we performed an internal lab test, comparing the brand new Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac against Time Machine and another popular file-level backup solution (test results and graphics are available upon request).

Paragon_Hard_Disk_Manager

Paragon HDM for Mac is designed to create instant copies of a disk (or several disks) at a specific point in time. This technology takes consistent snapshots of both inactive and in-use partitions. Unlike Time Machine, HDM provides snapshot-based backup and operates at the sector level, achieving superior performance and speed.

As you can see from the graph above, it takes Hard Disk Manager far less time to back up 9.15 Gb of information than Time Machine or a similar solution. HDM for Mac comes with improved snapshot technology, enabling consistent image backups even as the data is being modified at that moment.

So, if you want your Mac to be malware-proof – always back it up! By backing up your system, you save valuable information and a lot of time should you need to restore.

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

  • System Integrity Protection in OS X 10.11
    El Capitan support;
  • Sector-level backup for best perfomance and backup/recovery speed;
  • Move, resize, undelete partitions and modify their properties;
    • Migrate Windows OS from one Mac computer to another;
      • Format volumes in any of the common file systems (NTFS, HFS+, ExtFS, FAT 16/FAT 32 and exFAT);
      • And much more!

Learn more about Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac has been finally released!

We decided to take the next step in our development and present you with our most expected product – Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac! Most of you are already familiar with Hard Disk Manager for Windows or even have it installed on your PC. Now, we release Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac!

We developed a product that includes all the tools the OS X user needs. Everything from what’s OS X is missing plus comprehensive functionality to easily manage your OS X systems, so once you start using HDM for Mac, you wouldn’t have to run across the web searching for additional programs to successfully manage your Mac. HDM for Mac covers it all!

Enjoy this new powerful Mac solution!

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

  • System Integrity Protection in OS X 10.11
    El Capitan support;
  • Sector-level backup for best perfomance and backup/recovery speed;
  • Move, resize, undelete partitions and modify their properties;
    • Migrate Windows OS from one Mac computer to another;
      • Format volumes in any of the common file systems (NTFS, HFS+, ExtFS, FAT 16/FAT 32 and exFAT);
      • And much more!

Learn more about Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

We would like to thank our beta-testers and everyone who supported the project – with your help we were able to gather the most valuable feedback and develop a great new product!

Why do you need an extra partition on your Mac and how to create it

Today we’re going to talk about partitions. What is it anyway?

A partition is a specific area of a hard drive, which has a beginning and an ending point, and the space between those points equals the total amount of size the partition defines.

Sometimes people confuse a partition with a volume, but there is a big difference between the two.
A volume is a file system on a partition your Mac or PC can recognize. Common types of volumes include DVDs, hard drives, and partitions or sections of hard drives.

Practically any type of storage you use for your Mac (SSDs, hard drives, USB flash drives, etc.) can be divided into partitions. Each partition can use one of four formats compatible with OS X: HFS/HFS+ (simple and encrypted), ExFAT and FAT.

There are good reasons to split your device into multiple partitions. For example, you want to run multiple versions of OS X on your Mac; organize your data PC-style; manage your backups efficiently or run Windows on your Mac. Especially if you are a big fan of OS X and install all OS X beta-versions, it is strongly recommended by Apple to install all beta versions on a separate partitions, as they can truly ruin your Mac!

To partition a drive, we can use the Disk Utility – a built-in Mac program to manage your hard drives.

NB: Your data will be erased during the procedure, so be sure to back up the information first.

  • Step 1: Open the Disk Utility by searching for it via Spotlight or finding it in Applications > Utilities
  • Step 2: Select the storage device you want to partition from the left pane. The selected drive will appear in the right pane together with its details, such as location, the way it’s connected, and the partition map in use
  • Step 3: Select the drive and then click the Partition button in the Disk Utility’s Toolbar. You will see a drop-down panel displaying a pie chart of how the drive is currently divided
  • Step 4: To add a partition, click the plus (+) button right below the pie chart
  • Step 5: Enter a name for the volume in the Partition field to be displayed on your Mac’s desktop. Press Apply

You can also adjust the volume size by either entering its value in the text box, or by shifting a pie slice anchor in the required direction.

However, some errors might occur in the process, causing you to end up with an unallocated space on your disk unseen in the Disk Utility. An unallocated space is like a void on your hard drive you can’t detect and use with Mac’s inbuilt apps. The only way to manage such space is to use the Terminal, but it is rather complicated and may lead to corruption of files and partitions.

For such cases we have a card up our sleeve: The new Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac Preview helps you to easily manage this unallocated space and use it to create partitions, add the unallocated space to the existing partitions, resize free space between Mac OS and Bootcamp partitions and much more.

With HDM for Mac Preview you can resize your partitions in 3 clicks.

Click 1: Select the storage device you want to partition. Choose Move/Resize partition

HDM for mac Preview

Click 2: Shift the anchor to select the size you need. Press OK

Resize partition

Click 3: Press Apply Operations at the top right of the menu

Press Apply

As you can see from the screenshot below, Disk Utility won’t show full information about an unallocated space on your storage device:

Unnalocated space

With HDM for Mac Preview you can additionally format all partitions to HFS+, NTFS, FAT32, ExtFS 2,3,4, exFAT:

FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, HFS+

Find these tips useful? Start using your Mac as a pro right now!

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

  • System Integrity Protection in OS X 10.11
    El Capitan support;
  • Core Storage backup and restore;
  • Snapshot-driven backup;

Learn more about Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac

Paragon Hard Disk Manager for Mac